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New Raytheon|Websense CEO: Joint Venture Brings Public Sector Security Expertise To Partners

As the $1.9 billion acquisition of Websense by the major defense contractor closes, new CEO John McCormack said the joint venture means a unique perspective on the security market -- the ability to leverage best practices from the public sector in the commercial space.

As the $1.9 billion acquisition of Websense by major defense contractor Raytheon closes, new CEO John McCormack said the joint venture will allow Websense partners to bring the best of public sector security knowledge to help clients face a well-funded and dynamic threat landscape.

With the Friday close of the acquisition of Websense from private equity owner Vista Equity Partners, which was first reported by CRN on April 17 and officially announced April 20, Raytheon has launched a new commercial cybersecurity company that combines Websense with Raytheon Cyber Products (RCP). The company will be majority owned by Raytheon and will be reported as a business segment of the Waltham, Mass.-based defense contractor.

The joint venture, which will temporarily be called Raytheon|Websense, also comes with a significant injection of capital investments, including $600 million of intercompany loans from Raytheon, $335 million in cash investments from Vista Equity Partners and $400 million in assets and intellectual property from the addition of RCP.

[Related: Raytheon Aims For Commercial Security Market With $1.9B Websense Acquisition]

Based in Austin, Texas, the new joint venture will be led by former Websense President John McCormack as CEO. In an interview with CRN, McCormack said the new company will bring a unique perspective on the security market, being able to leverage best practices from the public sector in the commercial space. That capability is becoming more and more important as global enterprises, such as Sony, are becoming the target of sophisticated, well-funded attacks previously focused on the public sector, he said.

"The adversaries are nation states and terrorists -- these are the kinds of folks coming after global enterprise today. Where does the capability of understanding the adversary come from? It comes from the people who have been doing it for years," McCormack said.

On the flip side, McCormack said, investing in securing global commercial enterprises is also key for the public sector, as the two become interlocked and a vulnerability in either threatens both.

"In a global-connected world, you can't protect the government if you can't protect your national commercial organizations. With everything interconnected, I think it's admirable that the leadership of Raytheon both saw the opportunity and the obligation that if you're going to defend America's interests in terms of critical infrastructure and national interests, you have to take a more comprehensive view of defending global commercial industries," McCormack said.

From a products and capabilities perspective, McCormack said the acquisition will allow Websense to continue its strategy to expand its Triton platform, an appliance-based Web and email security solution, to combat insider threats. In particular, McCormack highlighted Raytheon's insider threat platform, sophisticated malware detection and analytics platform.

"You get some major synergies in terms of putting these two organizations together in us being able to take the RCP technology to our channels -- we're working on that diligently right now -- and them being able to take some of our technology into channels in the government where you need more specialized skills to do that," McCormack said.

The acquisition will bring together Websense's 2,200 channel partners, which are about 90 percent commercial and 10 percent federal, with Raytheon's clients, which represent the exact opposite percentage makeup. McCormack said Raytheon|Websense is working to commercialize joint solutions and train channel partners to sell them over the next six months.

"This is about driving synergies from the two go-to-market engines that had a unique focus and really getting to play on each other's strengths," McCormack said. "I think our channel partners are going to find these are very unique value propositions in the marketplace and I think our channel partners are going to find a lot of opportunity here."

PUBLISHED JUNE 1, 2015

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